The trouble with superheroes
Eric Ehst, Executive Director
Our culture today is overrun with superheroes. You can’t watch a movie or turn on the TV without seeing a gang of people with “special powers” overcoming their problems and ultimately saving the world. Be they Mutants, X-Men or old-fashioned characters like Superman, Batman, Spiderman or Wonder Woman, we pathetic ordinary humans would be goners without having them to save us from asteroids, natural disasters, giant robots and sundry super-villains. The message seems to be that we regular humans are too puny or ineffectual to be able to deal with the problems that confront us and that we either need a superhero or a quick dose of magic rays to survive. This is a dangerous fantasy where we cower in fear and wait to be saved by an outside power.
The movies also tell us that these superheroes are hiding among us, in disguise, ready to step into a phonebooth (remember them) and pull on the costume when danger arises. This is the one part that these big-budget fantasy stories almost get right. The true heroes are hiding quietly in our midst; they just don’t have Lycra costumes or superpowers. Every danger, difficulty and disaster that we have ever faced has been overcome by regular people who have overcome their fears, put aside their own desires and come to the assistance of those in need.
Remember the “Greatest Generation?” Many of you or your parents stepped up to truly save the world. Contrary to what you learn from recent movies, it wasn’t Captain America who won World War II. My father, who was a regular student, gave up two years of his life to freeze his butt off in a foxhole while getting shot at. My mother was a nurse, helping to save those who got shot. Many of your families have similar stories. This is but one extreme example of the heroics that happen every day.
You don’t have to get shot at to be a hero. You don’t need to travel to distant lands or face great discomfort, danger or hardship. You just need to give up a tiny bit of your time or your money to help someone in need.
At Neighbors Who Care, we pair up neighborhood superheroes with people in need every day. Elizabeth needs a hero to drive her to lifesaving dialysis. Victor, who is all alone, needs a hero to come and visit. Judy needs a hero to call and make sure she’s okay. Charles needs a hero to help pay for his meals so he doesn’t have to skip his medication in order to eat. You don’t need a colorful costume or to be faster than a speeding bullet to be a superhero. If you have a car, a telephone or a checkbook, you can make someone’s life infinitely better. Contact Neighbors Who Care at 480-895-7133 or www.NeighborsWhoCare.com to find out how.